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Maria Sharapova and Risk Management

March 15, 2016

Last week Maria Sharapova was suspended for failing a drug test at the Australian Open.  Immediately afterwards, most of her major sponsors cancelled or suspended their contracts with her.  This is a loss in the millions for her.  It seems she did not employ an effective risk management mechanism.

We are all subject to risks.  Some are evident and that’s why we have insurance policies.  Some are not so apparent and we only find out about them when a disaster strikes.

Question: What type of risk management program should she or could she have had?  She could have hired someone to keep track of all medications she took – both prescription and over the counter – and checked periodically to see if they were placed on a banned list.  She could have also had that person check the foods she ate to see what side effects they produced and how they would interact with and among her medications.  She could have had someone check the dust levels in her house or rooms she stays in when traveling.  She even could have had someone check the cosmetics and those of people she comes in frequent contact with.

She could have done a lot of things, but she also needed to anticipate the potential problems which could have developed and some of which might seem nutsy or farfetched.  Maria could have also read the single email that allegedly was sent, but why was only one email sent when statistics indicate that less than 25% of all emails are ever opened. This sounds like a “gotcha.”

The point is, we are all subject to a myriad of risks with some beyond the realm of reasonableness.  I do not have an answer of what Maria could have done to avoid the suspension, but I have a few tips for you to consider.

  • Are the medications you take absolutely necessary and what is the specific benefits of taking them?  What side effects do they produce and what are the dangers?
  • A registered pharmacist should review all your medications and determine if any cause unpleasant or dangerous interactions with each other
  • All of your medications should be checked against your medical history and allergies to make sure they do not create allergic reactions
  • The time schedule of taking medications should be determined for maximum efficiency or to thwart harmful interactions
  • Your medications should be cross referenced against foods that can cause unpleasant reactions
  • Alcohol consumption should be monitored to avoid accelerated inebriation or the appearance of such or hostile reactions
  • Travel to a foreign country should be cross referenced against your medications for prohibition lists
  • Health, liability and umbrella policies should be reviewed for exclusions or causes of violating coverage
  • With regard to your health, you should be aware of the different medical specialties and when a consultation is necessary and should be considered even if you are not covered for the visit
  • If you are in a business where such dangers exist or are potentially possible, then you should hire the right person to monitor and perform these services for you
  • You should read all your emails from known senders and also check that such emails are not blocked by your Internet provider

Whether you are in business or not, we are in a distracted society where many providers of services do not put the adequate focus and attention to what they are doing.  This places the burden of compliance on the receivers of the services, i.e. each of us, and it behooves us to fully understand what is prescribed and what we will be putting in our bodies.  My rule for investing is to never do something you do not fully understand.  This applies to financial decisions as well as those affecting the quality of your health.

Understand!  And, ask and questions until you do.  If you do not understand what and why, do not do it!

One Comment leave one →
  1. March 15, 2016 7:14 am

    Thanks so much for this Ed. Another terrific reminder that everyone can relate to. I recently saw an Opera Master Class (DVD) with Stevie Nicks where the subject of medications was covered extensively. I highly recommend it to everyone to watch (after busy season). For now we all need something to make our tax returns get efiled faster!

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